Real Sociedad 2-4 Barcelona: Luis Suarez scores twice in comeback win
By Oliver Young-Myles
Last Updated: 15/01/18 7:44am
Luis Suarez scored twice as Barcelona battled back from a 2-0 deficit to win 4-2 against Real Sociedad and end their 11-year winless run at the Anoeta.
Real Sociedad were unbeaten in seven home games against Barcelona and looked on course to beat them again thanks to first-half goals from Willian Jose and Juanmi.
Paulinho pulled one back for the visitors on the stroke of half-time before a double from Luis Suarez and a late free-kick from Lionel Messi capped a remarkable turnaround.
Following Manchester City's 4-3 defeat to Liverpool, Barcelona are the only unbeaten team in Europe's top five leagues and are nine points clear of Atletico Madrid in the table while Real Sociedad remain 15th.
Real Sociedad: Rulli (5), Odriozola (6), Llorente (6), Raul Navas (6), Rodrigues (6), Prieto (7), Illarra (7), Canales (7), Zurutuza (6), Willian (7), Juanmi (7)
Subs: Zubeldia (6), Oyarzabal (6), Januzaj (N/A)
Away Team: Ter Stegen (6), Roberto (6), Pique (6), Vermaelen (6), Jordi Alba (7), Rakitic (6), Paulinho (6), Sergio (6), Andre Gomes (5), Suarez (8), Messi (7)
Subs: Dembele (5), Digne (N/A), D. Suarez (N/A)
Man of the match: Luis Suarez
Real Sociedad have endured a frustrating season but they made an electric start against Barcelona and opened the scoring after 11 minutes as Willian Jose thumped a header down into the ground and beyond Marc-Andre ter Stegen from Xabi Prieto's pinpoint cross.
The home side continued to dominate after going in front and doubled their advantage on 35 minutes when Sergi Canales clipped a wonderful pass into the path of Juanmi who saw his close-range shot ricochet off the covering Sergi Roberto and bobble into the net.
That goal seemed to jolt Barcelona into life and they responded just a few minutes later through Paulinho's eighth league goal of the season as the Brazilian squeezed a finish beyond Geronimo Rulli from Suarez's intelligent cut-back across the face of the goal. The former Tottenham man has now scored double the number of league goals as Cristiano Ronaldo this season.
Barcelona were without new signings Philippe Coutinho and Yerry Mina while Ousmane Dembele and Andres Iniesta started on the bench. Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi were paired together up front in a 4-4-2 formation.
It took the visitors just five minutes to equalise in the second half and it was a wonderful goal too. Messi made a trademark darting run down the field before laying the ball into the path of Suarez on the left-hand side of the area and the Uruguayan opened his body up before curling a delicious chip over Rulli and into the far corner.
Suarez completed the comeback 20 minutes later as he sent Rulli the wrong way before smashing an unerring finish into the near post after Thomas Vermaelen's booming header from the centre circle had skidded perfectly into his path on the sodden Anoeta turf.
From then on there was only going to be one winner and Messi put a gloss on the scoreline with four minutes remaining by arcing a wonderful free-kick into the top corner from distance, with Rulli only able to stand and watch as it sailed into his top corner.
Man of the match - Luis Suarez
By his standards, Luis Suarez made a poor start to the season as he managed just three goals from his opening eight league games and he, more than anyone in a Barcelona shirt, seemed to be missing the service provided by Neymar.
However, his double against Real Sociedad means that he has now managed 10 goals from his last eight league outings and his returning confidence was there for all to see when he scored a wonderful chip to draw his side level.
Barcelona have the small matter of a local derby against Espanyol to come on Wednesday in the Copa Del Rey before returning their attentions to the league when they host Real Betis on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Football.
Real Sociedad are next in action on Sunday against Celta Vigo and that game is also live on Sky Sports Football.